Book Reviews

Review: Paint the Wind by Cathy Cash Spellman

ccs_ptwCalled The Gone With the Wind of the West…

Paint the Wind

Wide as the continent and wild as the West, Paint the Wind is the epic saga of one unforgettable woman and the three strong men who risk everything to possess her.

1864. A plantation is ravaged by border raiders. Ten-year-old Fancy Deverell is saved by a wise old slave named Atticus, who sets her on an extraordinary journey that will lead her headlong into the rough-and-tumble days of the Old West. From a westering circus train to the gold and silver fields of Colorado, from the cutthroat world of the New York Stage and the arcane shadows of magic and mysticism to the last legendary and tragic struggles of Geronimo and the Apache Nation, the novel sweeps along with the relentless rhythm of those turbulent times…

To survive, Fancy must learn what it takes for a woman to climb from poverty to fame and fortune in a universe that belongs to the ruthless and the male. Before she’s through, there isn’t much that Fancy won’t have done, or bargained, or sold for her dreams… and the price of her deliverance. For Paint the Wind is first and last the story of feisty, tempestuous, and vulnerable Fancy Deverell. Far too beautiful for her own good, she wants it all — love, power, money, security — and she’ll get it, too, if she can keep her heart out of the way of the three men who so desperately want to possess her.

CHANCE McALLISTER — his gambler’s luck is legendary, like his prowess in bed, and Chance is precisely the kind of rogue Fancy wants.

HART McALLISTER — a giant of a man with a soul and talent to match, Chance’s brother is an artist whose paintings of the dying Apache Nation will hang in the Louvre… but it won’t mean a damn to him if he can’t have Fancy.

JASON MADIGAN — a wizard at making deals and breaking lesser men, he’s someone who kills for sport. And Fancy, is the only woman he has ever needed to own, whatever the cost.

Fancy’s journey is a tale of self-discovery and of spiritual growth that takes as many strange turns as life itself. The men and women who bring their dreams and drives to it are as colorful and various as the thousands who journeyed west: the stalwart, honorable madam and the gunfighter who loves her… the brilliant dwarf with the secret past… the cunning Chinese wise man who knows the cure for opium addiction… the old prospector who would sacrifice everything but integrity for the Mother Lode… the thespian who yearns for one last great role to play… the mysterious Gypsy who mastered the forbidden arts and now must win back her immortal soul.

Against this huge, vividly rendered, multi-character canvas, three resolute men do battle for the woman called Fancy in a novel that for its scope and grandeur belongs on the shelf with the classic epics of our time.

I found this book about a year ago at the local used bookstore. Their was a brief review on the back cover which likened it to Gone with the Wind, set in the west. It intrigued me, so I decided it was worth bringing home, to see if such a review was merited.

It was.

I can’t recall many specifics now that so much time has passed since I read it, but I do remember very clearly being enthralled by the story, and read late into the night before exhaustion would force me to set it aside. The characters and settings of the story were richly detailed, and as I read it, I became lost in the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction/romance.

Author: Cathy Cash Spellman

Title: Paint the Wind

Published: January 1, 1990 by Delacorte Press

Rating: ★★★★


This review was originally published on Goodreads on March 4, 2012.



Book Reviews

Review: Apache Magic by Janis Reams Hudson


To the Apaches, Daniella Blackwood was an adopted daughter, respected and cherished. To their shaman, the bold white streak in her hair made her special and her visions in the flames make her a woman of magic. Yet no magic could protect Daniella from the passion that sears her senses when she first meets Travis Colton.

To Arizona rancher Travis Colton, the mysterious Daniella is his only chance at rescuing his son. Travis and his ten-year-old son were captured by a band of Cochise’s warriors. Left for dead, Travis managed to make his way home, determined to do whatever it takes to get his son back.

Travis and Daniella’s quest together will take more than magic; it will take a passion neither is ready to handle.

I found this book to be very enjoyable, though the believability of certain circumstances were a bit of a stretch. It was a bit of a stretch to believe that someone who went through such a traumatic experience (abducted, brutally beaten, and repeatedly raped) would be able to get over it as quickly as Daniella did, but hey, that’s why they call it fiction, right?

Aside from that, I didn’t have any issues with the book, and I look forward to reading the sequel Apache Promise in the coming days.

On an unrelated note, I always enjoy discovering new authors from my home state, and was pleased to discover that Ms. Hudson is among them. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

If Native American romance is one of your guilty pleasures, you will likely enjoy this novel.

Author: Janis Reams Hudson

Title: Apache Magic

Series: Coltons #1

Published: December 1991 by Zebra

Rating: ★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plusThis review was originally published on Goodreads on March 4, 2012.



Book Reviews

Review: A Rose for Hanna by Lesli Neubauer


In 1848, a young, privileged German couple, Johann and Hanna find love in their arranged marriage. However, to the disappointment of both their families, chuck it all way, and travel half way across the world to experience life on the Texas frontier. They put their lives in peril on both land and sea, enduring through storms, wagon wrecks, encounters with savage Indians, and a harsh, unforgiving new climate. Johann often wonders why he ever brought his beautiful Hanna to this God-forsaken land. Was it God-forsaken? Would they endure? Or would they leave Texas, and come home to Germany as their families hoped?

It’s always sad when a story has potential and falls short. The characters were interesting enough for me to continue reading, but it was frustrating to continually see extraneous details and events pop up for no apparent reason, never to be expanded upon, and leaving you to wonder why they were there at all.

There was very little conflict in the story, and what was there felt forced. It didn’t flow well, and in most cases was resolved within a few sentences. It’s a shame because there were a couple of events that would have provided rich material for a recurring problem that could be resolved in a dramatic way.

Minor annoyances include poorly worded phrases, sentence structure, and the repeated use of the word ‘site’ instead of ‘sight’.

The ending left a lot to be desired, as well. It was abrupt and, to me, an odd place to conclude the story.

There are other books in this series, but I won’t be reading them.

Author: Lesli Neubauer

Title: A Rose for Hanna

Series: New Beginnings #1

Published: November 29, 2013 by Louis & Reed Publishing


goodreads-badge-add-plusThis review was originally published on Goodreads on January 10, 2015.


Book Reviews

Review: Dark Angel | Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh



From New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh come two classic tales of love turned dangerous, set amid the splendor of Regency England—a time rife with passion, betrayal, and intrigue.

Dark Angel
Jennifer Winwood has been engaged for five years to a man she hardly knows but believes to be honorable and good: Lord Lionel Kersey. Suddenly, she becomes the quarry of London’s most notorious womanizer, Gabriel Fisher, the Earl of Thornhill. Jennifer has no idea that she is just a pawn in the long-simmering feud between these two headstrong, irresistible men—or that she will become a prize more valuable than revenge.
Lord Carew’s Bride
Jennifer’s cousin Samantha Newman is smarting after she too is toyed with by Lord Kersey. In the midst of her heartbreak, she seeks solace from her new friend, the disabled gardener Hartley Wade. If only she knew that Hartley is secretly Lord Carew, and that he hides more than extraordinary wealth: a passionate secret held deep in his heart that only her love can reveal.

This is the first book I ever read by Mary Balogh. I was familiar with her name, but had never so much as read the back cover of one of her books. I was discussing favorite authors with a friend of mine (the owner of a local second-hand bookstore) one day, and she asked if I’d ever read anything by Ms. Balogh… when I said I hadn’t, she said I really should give her novels a try, and promised to look through her stock and find something really good for me to read. A couple days later she handed me a copy of this book.

I have to admit, I really didn’t think I’d like it when I realized it was a regency. (I always think I’m going to dislike regency romances before I start reading them. Why, I have no idea. Maybe it’s because most of the ones I’ve picked up are so short in length, and I prefer longer novels… who knows?) I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I was hooked almost immediately. I sat up reading well into the wee hours of the morning, putting the book aside only when I was so exhausted the words began to blur on the page. Another session of marathon reading ensued practically as soon as I woke up the next day. Again, I ended up reading into the night, and when I finally did put the book down, it was because I had turned the last page and finished the book.

I’ve not yet gotten around to reading the rest of this series, but they are definitely on my want to read list. If I were to compare this book to the other regency romances I’ve read, I would say that this was the best of them all. If you like regency romance, and haven’t read this yet, give it a try… I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed!

Author: Mary Balogh

Title: Dark Angel | Lord Carew’s Bride

Series: Stapleton-Downes #3 and #4

Published: 2/23/2010 by Dell

Rating: ★★★★


This review was originally published on Goodreads on February 3, 2011.



Book Reviews

Review: Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley



The timeless tale continues… The most popular and beloved American historical novel ever written, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind is unparalleled in its portrayal of men and women at once larger than life but as real as ourselves. Now bestselling writer Alexandra Ripley brings us back to Tara and reintroduces us to the characters we remember so well: Rhett, Ashley, Mammy, Suellen, Aunt Pittypat, and, of course, Scarlett.

As the classic story, first told over half a century ago, moves forward, the greatest love affair in all fiction is reignited; amidst heartbreak and joy, the endless, consuming passion between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler reaches its startling culmination. Rich with surprises at every turn and new emotional, breathtaking adventures, Scarlett satisfies our longing to reenter the world of Gone With the Wind, and like its predecessor, Scarlett will find an eternal place in our hearts.

It was a lot of fun reading this one again. I first read it back when it was new, so more than enough time had passed for me to forget a lot of the story, and it was as if I was reading it for the first time all over again. Having read Charleston and On Leaving Charleston, it was fun that Ripley brought in characters from those novels (Sally Brewton, Julia Ashley, etc.) into this one. (Made me want to read those novels all over again, too!)

But… as much as I love the book… there were many instances were Rhett and Scarlett said or did things that felt completely out of character. Maybe it’s been too long since I read Gone with the Wind, and I’m basing too much of my memory about them on the movie. (That’s entirely possible, as it’s been many years since I last read the novel.) Still, there were times when things just felt wrong… such as Rhett being so obsessed with reviving the flower gardens at Dunmore Landing. Or Scarlett being completely oblivious to how the Ballyhara people felt about Cat. Granted, she was self-centered, but I doubt she wouldn’t have the slightest recognition that something was a bit off in how they regarded/treated Cat… not as important as she was to Scarlett.

But the things that bothered me were all minor annoyances, most easily overlooked. It was very enjoyable to read, and it never failed to keep me interested all the way through. I do wish the story hadn’t ended practically as soon as Rhett and Scarlett reunited, but I suppose it was fitting, since Gone with the Wind ended with Rhett leaving.

Author: Alexandra Ripley

Title: Scarlett

Series: Gone with the Wind #2

Published: September 1991 by Warner Books

Rating: ★★★


This review was originally posted on Goodreads on August 11, 2010.